The gnarliest thing about Mavericks isn’t the technical drop or the force of a 50 foot wave breaking behind you, it’s surviving the wipeout. Professional big-wave surfer, Shawn Dollar, sat down with The Surf Channel and shared his mindset when surfing Half Moon Bay. His thought process is, you can’t think what can wrong but what can’t go wrong.
Shawn was hired to perform stunt work for the film Chasing Mavericks and was asked to repetitively get slammed at Mavericks. He took about 12 sets to the head and realized he was in serious trouble when exhaustion started to hit. Shawn was about to call it a day, but his hunger for one more wave kicked in, so he paddled back out to catch one more. After he made the drop at the bowl of the wave, Shawn got clipped in the back of the head, which knocked him right off his feet. He described the wipeout as a typical bail, getting rag-dolled and thrown, but it was his exhaustion that made this particular wipeout at Mavericks deadly. He struggled for minutes to get to the surface after continually getting pulled into the black abyss of the 30 foot whitewash.
Miraculously, it was an air tank that Shawn had kept with him while surfing that kept him alive as he was repetitively mauled and held under by the force of the ocean. Watch professional big-wave surfer Shawn Dollar’s full story about his intense fight to survival a Mavericks wipeout.